A 1920s Newport Beach home is transformed for contemporary art collectors

In the airy family home in Balboa Peninsula, California, James Magni incorporates sculptures by Joel Morrison and Kehinde Wiley as well as work by Tara Donovan. Photo: Manolo Langis

When Robert Beauchamp, the Los Angeles dentist who pioneered credit services and founded Western Dental, moved his family to Newport Beach in the mid-1950s, their 1927 Cape Cod-style home was one of four dwellings at the tip of the Balboa Peninsula. “It was every man for himself. Our school uniform was shorts, T-shirts, and sandals, and we were steps away from the Wedge, the famous bodysurfing beach,” recalls David Beauchamp, the youngest son of the family, now 74 years old. “Today, when the waves are 25ft high, these TV and movie crews come down to see the Wedge crashing, but it was our playground when we were kids and no one else was there. was going to.”

In the mid-2000s, David Beauchamp and his wife, Tracy, built a modernist teak and limestone beach house designed with James Magni at China Cove, just across Newport Bay from the peninsula. During the four years of construction, they moved into his childhood home – which had remained in the family after his parents’ death – and fell in love love with it. “We liked the nautical aspect because there was a dock and we didn’t have one at China Cove,” says Beauchamp, whose career spanned finance and real estate investing. “We have become part of the community.”

A Tara Donovan artwork of steel pins presides over one side of the great room, where designer James Magni has set four 1960s Milo Baughman chairs and a pair of Holly Hunt stools around a cocktail table Magni Home Collection; the rug was custom made by Stark. Photo: Manolo Langis

The couple loved it so much that after they finished their China Cove residence, they decided to sell it, buy out his siblings’ shares in the Balboa Peninsula home, and make it their primary residence. . They hired Magni’s firm, magni Kalman Design, to undertake what they envisioned as a minor refurbishment of the five-bedroom property. In the end, they ended up doing a complete overhaul, bringing EBTA Architects restructure certain interior spaces.

Thanks to a wall of bifold doors, the great room in Tracy and David Beauchamp’s home on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California, functions as a covered open-air pavilion, with views of the bay. Magni Kalman Design orchestrated the renovations to the century-old home, EBTA Architects did the shell work, and G. Grisamore Design supervised the landscaping. Photo: Manolo Langis

Among the changes they made was the conversion of an upstairs sleeping porch once used by Beauchamp and his siblings into a guest bedroom that doubles as an office and, most importantly, the combination of the former veranda and an enclosed staff kitchen with the living room to create a dramatic and flowing great room wrapped in nano glass doors that open to the bay. At first, a contractor had encouraged the couple to level the house and rebuild for saving time and money, but their sense of nostalgia prevailed. They even chose to have the original of the 95 year old building slate roof and brick facade dismantled, refurbished and reinstalled. “Maintaining the integrity of the house was very important to them,” explains Jason Kalman.

“Everywhere you look you see water. I always tell people that we can’t compete with God, so let’s be moderate and let the inside flow.

James Magni

Another challenge – and a blessing – notes Magni, “is that everywhere you look you see water. It’s all views. i always say people, we can’t compete with God, so let’s be moderate and let the inside flow.

The Great Room sofa is from Magni Home Collection, as is the coffee table it wraps around; they are joined by mid-century TH Robsjohn-Gibbings armchairs (one visible), Cedric Hartman floor lamps and an acrylic side table by Magni Kalman Design. Sculptures by Joel Morrison (left) and Kehinde Wiley stand on plinths in front of the open glass doors. Photo: Manolo Langis

To reinforce the feeling of interior-exterior continuity, the the designers matched the slate around the pool and entrance walkway with the floor tiles inside. They also installed limed white oak furniture and created bespoke furniture throughout, from wool and silk rugs at Lucite tables with an ombré finish, which are paired with vintage chairs from TH Robsjohn-Gibbings upholstered in Magni Home Collection leather. Refined materials and textures were essential for furniture, including cast aluminum dining chairs by DLV Designs and bronze floor lamps by Cedric Hartman in the great room. The the walls and ceilings of the trays, meanwhile, were kept crisp and white to let the couple’s burgeoning art collection shine.

Magni Home Collection pendant lights hang above the Holly Hunt table and DLV Designs chairs in the dining room, where a large painting by Mark Grotjahn adds dynamic pops of color. Works on paper by Joyce Pensato flank the window seat, and a china vase by Jeff Koons perches atop the custom-made limed oak cabinets with Rocky Mountain Hardware pulls. Photo: Manolo Langis

“They were collecting Laguna watercolors when I met them”, recalls Magni, who introduced the Beauchamps to artistic adviser Michael E. Thomas. The couple have since amassed some 90 works by top artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Takashi Murakami, Joyce Pensato and Mark Grotjahn. “The children were educated not to touch Tara Donovan’s pins,” Magni jokes, noting that Beauchamp hardly ever gets his feet wet and that Tracy is always on the tennis courts across the street, now the Peninsula Point Racquet. Club, which the family practically donated to the community.

A Jeppe Hein installation of mirrored balloons hangs above the staircase opposite a monumental painting by Garth Weiser that hangs in the landing, which is upholstered with a Mansour runner. Photo: Manolo Langis

The arched entrance door frames Jaume Plensa’s sculpture beyond. Photo: Manolo Langis

The couple, who alternate the works presented twice a year, want to make sure the house never looks like a museum. “We don’t live in a serious place, we live on the beach,” says Beauchamp. “So there is also a sense of fantasy and playfulness in the art.” He points to the stairwell, where mirrored balloons by Jeppe Hein hang from the ceiling in front of an epic Garth Weiser abstraction. Stainless steel sculpture by Joel Morrison The Decline of Western Civilization represents the beloved of the artist a studded denim jacket “sort of draped over the bust of a rock star with details that look like jewels,” says Magni, who placed the artwork prominently in front of glass doors in the great room.

A sculpture by Takashi Murakami rests on a plinth in the center of the entrance gallery; the artwork on the right wall is by Lesley Vance. Photo: Manolo Langis

Another family favorite is Gavin Turk’s American Bag, a painted bronze sculpture reproducing a burst at the seams trash bag that the pair mischievously set up near the front door. “All our friends are trying to pick him up and take him to the brake,” laughs Beauchamp. Like the house, “it’s a serious work of art”, he adds, “but playful”.

A version of this article first appeared in our Summer 2022 issue under the title “Going Home Again.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: The master bedroom of Tracy and David Beauchamp’s home on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California.

Photo: Manolo Langis